Fact: cybercrime has become an integral part of the digital landscape. Technology is evolving at breakneck speed, and unfortunately so are the skills of cyber criminals. As a result, we are dealing with digital threats that are constantly evolving. Measures that previously provided adequate protection are not always effective against today’s cyber risks. And since we are increasingly dependent on technological tools, both professionally and personally, the impact of a cyber attack can be enormous.
Yet many organizations do not seem to realize how vulnerable they are. Sometimes they are simply unaware of the data breaches that hackers can exploit. They may think that cyber criminals are only interested in large corporations, and smaller companies are therefore not at risk. Perhaps there are other – more pressing – issues that require attention. Or maybe cyber security is simply considered a hassle: where do you even start?
The consequences of a data breach
And that’s how one day such an organization may itself become the victim of a cyber attack, with all the consequences that entails. Direct financial consequences, such as having to pay a “ransom” to regain control of hacked systems, or a fine for failure to comply with GDPR and other regulations surrounding cyber security and privacy. And indirect costs and loss of revenue due to reputational damage, operational interruptions, the leaking or loss of confidential business information or personal customer data…
And that really is a shame, because implementing the right measures doesn’t need to be complicated. Thanks to the use of smart tools, every organization can increase cyber resilience and reduce the risk of a data breach. With the ever-increasing risk of a cyber attack and its enormous consequences, now is the time to proactively tackle this problem!
Step one in tackling the cyber resilience of your organization is finding out what the risks and vulnerabilities are now. In other words: a baseline measurement. The best way to determine this is by conducting a risk analysis that screens the entire organization for compliance with a Zero Trust policy, for example in the areas of:
- Authentication – Are you using a strong Multi Factor Authentication? What measures are in place to minimize the risk of identity theft?
- Access policy – Do you have clear policies for acceptable and adaptive access for resources?
- Micro-segmentation – To what extent does your organization employ a distributed segmentation that also isolates individual workloads?
- Automated alerts and recovery actions – Have these measures already been deployed to minimize the average time between attack and response?
- Artificial intelligence and cloud intelligence – Has your organization embraced these to detect and respond to anomalies in real-time?
- Classification and protection of corporate data – How do you protect sensitive data from exposure as a result of the unauthorized release of data from computer systems?
A cyber security assessment is the most efficient method for this, because it exposes potential risks through automated scans and analyses. These provide insight into the current cyber maturity of the organization and the scope of information security. With these insights, you can make well-informed decisions about prioritizing cyber security improvement actions. This way you can be sure that the available cyber security budget is used in the best possible way.
Cyber security plan
Which actions are indispensable in protecting the organization against a cyber attack? The fact is that traditional security measures are no longer sufficient. Good security is more than simply setting up a secure on-site network. In this digital age, you need a broader and above all adaptive strategy that can move with the increasing complexity and dynamics of the modern way of working. A strategy that takes into account that employees must be able to work anytime and anywhere, from any device. All they need to do is log in to their digital workplace. This poses different risks and requires a flexible strategy, translated into an effective cyber security plan.
Such a cyber security plan is a must for every organization, small or large. It helps with:
- Identifying and mitigating risks
- Protecting data and networks
- Responding quickly to a cyber attack and mitigating its impact
- Cleaning up affected systems
- Making the organization operational again as soon as possible
- Creating awareness and vigilance among users
Periodic risk analysis
To be able to move flexibly and effectively with the ever-developing cyber risks, organizations must be constantly aware of their vulnerabilities. Digital threats are constantly evolving. A one-off assessment provides a detailed baseline measurement of the current cyber maturity and potential vulnerabilities and risks. From there on, periodic assessments are crucial to keep monitoring and to remain continuously alert.
Periodically repeating the security assessment is an essential part of a sound security strategy. It provides a picture of the development in the cyber resilience of the organization as a whole and of the various parts of the infrastructure. This allows you to manage various security risks, and to stay ahead of new forms of cyber crime without hindering productivity.
The risk of a cyber attack is increasing, firstly because cyber criminals are becoming more skilled by the day, and secondly because there is an increasing need to work flexibly and dynamically. Also, the adoption of new technologies poses additional risks.
As the impact of an attack can be enormous, it is now more important than ever for any organization to gain – and keep! – insight into the risks and vulnerabilities, and to draw up an effective cyber security plan.
A step-by-step plan for better cyber security
In our white paper ‘Security Assessment: the first step in cyber security‘, we take a closer look at the importance of periodic risk assessments. How mature is your organization in the field of cyber security? What are the vulnerabilities and risks? What steps can you take to improve security, and where should your priorities lie? Concrete, useful information that you can apply immediately.